Sharp's Island – Richmond, Virginia - Atlas Obscura

Sharp's Island

This historic, one-acre island is the only legal place to camp in the city of Richmond.  


Geology, history, recreation, public art, and natural wonder can all found on an acre of granite and sand known as Sharp’s Island.

The Piedmont meets the Coastal Plain along the James River, with north-south rapids bisecting the island. The area makes for amazing fishing, especially during the spring. Members of the Sharp family lived on the island in a two-story house for 75 years before the home was washed away by a flood.

Visitors can boat up to the island from Richmond’s Ancarrow’s Landing in a johnboat or canoe. During the summer, river levels rise creating numerous swimming holes along the banks. The island is also home to an A-Frame cabin and a tent platform for camping. There is also a Little Free Library and a massive metal sculpture known as The Angler for visitors to explore.

Know Before You Go

The easiest way to access Sharp's Island is by canoe or kayak. Park at the gravel lot on the south side of the Mayo Bridge and walk your boat across the street and down to the water. The paddle over is about 75 yards.

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